God's Goodness Never Retires
By Elsie Chan, as told to Naomi Neoh
Though in her 70s, Elsie Chan hasn’t stopped learning the new things that God is teaching her every day.
In her retirement, she counts it a privilege to minister and care for the elderly, to spend extra time in worship and studying God’s Word and experiencing His care for her health and well-being.
Elsie shares how God has been leading her through this period of her life:
Q: What are the changes like in your life after retiring?
Being alone at home, God is my companion whom I can talk to every moment and every hour. I learn to seek God in His word, worship Him through the singing of praises, and to keep close to Him in prayer. God’s presence has kept me from fear, and I trust in Him for protection, strength, and comfort.
I’ve picked up walking and exercising as my hobbies, which help me keep healthy physically as well as spiritually, as I spend time with God and sing and pray on my walks at the park near my home.
I’m encouraged by Psalm 34:15 that says: “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.”
Although I am unworthy of any favour from the Lord, I am thankful He hears my prayers and is ever ready to extend His great compassion and forgiveness.
Q: How did God lead you to start ministering to the elderly in our community?
Since I retired in July 2016, God has used me to encourage five Christian elderly women, who are now with the Lord. I can truly see how God has led me individually to get to know each of them. Four of them were from the church community and one I got to know while I was visiting my sister-in-law in the hospital; she was on the next bed.
God has given me the gift of patience, kindness, and compassion to connect with the elderly. In my visits to them at the hospital or in their homes, it was wonderful to see them seeking after God for His mercy, and to encourage them through the singing of praises and sharing God’s Word.
Although they were physically weary, helpless, and lonely, they had faith in God and looked to Him for comfort and peace. They were not fearful of death and looked forward to being with God in heaven and free from their suffering. God has seen them through their pain and called them home peacefully to be with Him in glory at His perfect will and time.
Whenever I joined the Mandarin Service Elderly Fellowship to share my testimony, they are so encouraged by the providence of God upon my life. We sing together the chorus, “He Will Hold Me Fast” by John Sung, in Teochew, with great joy!
Q: These days, what are you most thankful to God for in your life?
I'm thankful for the goodness of God and how He watches over me and provides for every single one of my needs in my day-to-day life.
It really thrills my heart that God’s presence is so real, especially when I’m outside my home. He shelters me under His wings when I am on the road, holding the rain when I leave home to take the bus or providing shade from the scorching sun–all through His good timing and perfect way.
These days, I am often very forgetful and tend to misplace things, such as my keys, wallet, transport concession card, and even my dentures! In those times, I recognise that only God can help me. Somehow, He marvellously directs me to the right places to search.
Health wise, I am thankful to the Lord that since losing the centre part of my left eye vision 30 years ago, He has continued to preserve my vision in my right eye. He has also placed me under the care of an eye specialist, who has shown me lovingkindness by continuing to provide me follow up care every year.
Late last year, I lost my hearing in my right ear despite my hearing aid. This was mainly due to deterioration. My ENT doctor gave me three options: use a more powerful hearing aid, or a hearing implant or surgery. I truly thank God for His provision that I can now hear with the help of a more powerful hearing aid.
Two years ago, I was walking along a pedestrian pathway near my home when a motorcycle knocked me unconscious. I thank God that because I was unconscious, I was marvellously and mercifully spared of the fear, pain, anxiety and shame of lying by the roadside while waiting for the ambulance. Thank God also that the accident happened in front of a crowded coffeeshop and the motorcyclist had taken responsibility. Praise the Lord, I had no major injuries and made a full recovery after six months.
There are still moments when I do struggle in my faith and doubt God. But I pray for His mercy to defeat the devil by recalling God’s goodness upon me, which gives me peace in Him. Praise the Lord!
Q: Which verse has helped you go through challenges in your life?
“Beloved, we count them happy which endure.” (Psalm 5:11a)
This verse came from one of my devotions, and encouraged me that honour and joy belongs to those who endure. It forms and fashions our character, regulates our temper, builds up our faith and confidence in the Lord, and nurtures humility within our hearts. Whenever I am faced with hurts in life, this verse encourages me to pray to God for strength to accept the situation and to be able to let it go.
Q: What words of encouragement do you have for fellow Gracians?
I was greatly encouraged by a C.H. Spurgeon’s devotion on Proverbs 28:10 that the “the upright will have good things in possession”. Firstly, it speaks of how we have the power of God in prayer in all times of need, and secondly, the providence of God to watch over us, the angels of God to minister to us, and above all, the Spirit of God to dwell in us.
I'll like to end off with this verse, as a prayer for my life:
“Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.” (Psalm 71:8)